Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood
Barnes Community Players
Kitson Hall - 10 December 2019
Review by Andrew Lawston
The wine is mulled and the pies are minced, panto season is underway at Kitson Hall in Barnes, where opening night jitters are kept firmly under control by a confident cast who certainly seem to be enjoying their performance enormously.
Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood is this year’s pantomime from the Barnes Community Players, and features a fresh-faced and energetic principal cast supported by veteran members.
The show opens in Nottingham with Richard the Lionheart (the imposing Mark Hunter, who later doubles as a Peasant Who Resembles the King) about to leave on a crusade, and entrusting his niece and nephew to the Sheriff of Nottingham’s care. This takes place during an archery competition won by Robin of the Hood, the outlaw who has been poaching deer in the royal forests in order to feed the poor.
There is, perhaps, a little more plot to all this than we might be used to in the opening scene of a pantomime, which means the fun takes a few moments to get going, but a rousing rendition of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky soon sets the tone for an evening of upbeat adventure. The band is marvellous throughout, pulling off some challenging numbers with great gusto and a sound which seems much bigger than just the four of them: Martin White on keyboard, Grainne O’Kelly on sax, Terry Walker on bass, and Andrew Hale on drums.
Once the newly-dubbed Robin Hood gets together with his Merry Men, the laughs begin in earnest. There are many venerable pantomime gags, as well as some newer and funnier material, which is all remarkably clean and family-friendly. Thaisa Smart gives a gung-ho and energetic principal boy performance as Robin, playing well against Darcie Hunter’s feisty and determined Maid Marian. Jessie Lowit gives a strong performance as Will Scarlet, and it’s a shame she didn’t get a bit more to do. The Merry Men’s capabilities are soon enhanced by the brewing skill of the enthusiastically tipsy Friar Tuck (Jill Turetsky), whose tonsure provokes a brilliantly-delivered one-liner from Little John. Steve Hunter’s childlike Little John is often the cement binding the show together. He gets a lot of the best jokes, and delivers them with great timing.For full review:http://markaspen.com/2019/12/04/rhood-babes/
Babes on Barnes Common